Design - Innovation, Strategy and Product - 1st Level Master Degree

Master - Milan

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The Italian and International business models require practitioners able to tackle the project not only from a technical and productive perspective but, above all, from a strategic and structural point of view. The Master in Design aims to prepare a new generation of designers ready to consider any design variable as a design problem, either through an analysis of the market and the needs of contemporary users, either imagining future scenarios, in favor of innovative solutions. Design has become an instrument capable of innovating the strategic objectives of companies. The traditional user-centered (UCD) approach modifies the concept from "designing for" to "designing with" people, adapting today's socio-economic and production system in evolution.

This Master is organized with the extraordinary collaboration of Continuum, one of the most innovative consultancies in the world of international design.

Career opportunities:

the Master in Design prepare practitioners with expertise in the field of design and innovation, able to enter the role of Designer within the creative/design and strategic/managerial field, design agencies, companies, self-employment and self-production realities and institutions.

The course is recognised by MIUR (Ministry for Education, University and Research) as an Academic Master Level I credit rated at 60 credits allowing students to progress further in their studies in Italy or abroad.

  • Credits
  • Start date
    January 2017
  • Duration
    1 Year
  • Attendance
  • Language

Entry requirements:

The Master in Design must include an Honours Degree in the fields of architecture, engineering, design, economics or humanities both for Italian and foreigner students.

Methodology and structure:

Based on cross-disciplinary working team, the Master applies creativity development of the best design agencies and think tanks, and stimulates the collective thinking, in order to share know-how and empower all related skills.

The philosophy of the course, project and client based, offers to participants the opportunity to experiment and put into practice mindset and methodological processes (design thinking) by carrying out real projects, through a process based on team work and learning by doing.

All projects are followed by Leader Advisors who are also practitioners, selected for their expertise on the different project topics. Conferences and seminars offer the opportunity for debates with specialists and agencies, distinguished personalities from a range of design disciplines as well as others including entrepreneurship, technology and economy. High-profile Italian and international businesses and social enterprises enrich the Masters programme by disclosing their skills through projects, case studies and strategies.

The preliminary stages of this Master introduce students to the culture of design thinking and related methodologies through lectures, workshops and laboratory works. Subsequently, participants face different project phases, experimental and interactive courses (with different purpose, complexity and goals) based on learning by doing.

At the same time students can attend nurture courses to get involved in the strategic, technological and expressive area of design, bringing ideas and insights in order to feed the personal and professional growth of the whole team.

Students are called on to take a proactive and professional role with the clients in order to overcome the academic reality. They will benefit from a practical experience, where team work change according to the brief and the proposed teaching strategy.

The Master in Design enables students to meet with different production systems, which keep stimulating and take them to develop their own project methodology, allowing them to produce unique concepts. This process gives concrete answers to the needs of the market by the use contemporary languages and signs.

The course culminates in an exhibition where students present their dissertations and internships to a committee made by other candidates and experts.

The course is recognised by MIUR (Ministry for Education, University and Research) as an Academic Master Level I.

  • Program


      The aim of this module is to cover the vast array of design methodologies that are used throughout the Master course. It will explore the culture of team work as a successful design asset and will then move on to provide greater insight into the methodology of Design Thinking, a powerful tool for innovation, Design Strategy and Design (input and output). The module will also explore the methodology of Double Diamond as a converging and divergent design thinking process. The course will also analyse tools used for the creation and management of innovation processes (e.g. customer journey, prototyping franken models, resonance testings, backcasting, qualitative ethnographic research, storytelling).


      This intensive course, which takes place during the first few weeks of the Master course, is designed to align students coming from diverse design backgrounds with current design trends. It starts by covering the Italian design industry, a system characterized by individual designers and agencies, who have told the story of the last century in an indelible manner. The course will also cover the converging influences of different design cultures, from Italian to Scandinavian, showing how they have converged to create a special cultural mix, meaning designs can have be both a local and global perspective.
      In terms of new design scenarios, the course will highlight the existence of analogue and digital ecosystems and the importance of both brand service and brand experience.

    • DESIGN 1

      The first project will look at the product in terms of the relationships that exist between brand, distribution and design and the Maker and DIY movements. Students will cover the business strategies for product and portfolio, competitive analysis, strategy distribution and online communication. In order to conceptualize the product, a combination of primary and secondary research will be used, to understand the socio-cultural context (trend & lifestyle) and the user need (through an introduction to ethnographic-based research).

    • DESIGN 2

      The second project will then cover the theme of “brand distribution” through the study of the technological, production and socio-cultural context (habits, behaviour, trends), with the aim of identifying the correct product and design portfolio. Students will gain a deeper understanding of online–offline relationships and, in order to identify distribution and communication strategies, a combination of primary and secondary research and an ethnographic approach of user-research will be used. Students will learn to identify the relationships between brand guidelines and design guidelines, design language and the management of the product portfolio.

    • DESIGN 3

      The third project focuses on the relationship between brand reputation, communication distribution, product and portfolio. This is achieved through the understanding of entrepreneurship and business strategy, and technological, production and socio-cultural contexts (habits, behaviour, trends). Students will perfect their research skills using a combination of qualitative and quantitative research techniques also using an ethnological approach of (advanced) user research in order to conceptualize, develop and implement a design product.


      The final test reflects the client-driven spirit of the Master degree. Students will take on a project brief supplied by the agency board, or an industrial challenge developed internally by a team of students. In the latter case, through the development of the brief, students need to demonstrate the acquisition of analytical and strategic design thought, the ability to work autonomously within a team and to have the necessary skills to communicate designs in both a concrete and effective manner.


      Effective design communication is a fundamental skill needed by design professionals, be it in the sharing of information within a work team, or in terms of communicating designs to clients. This module aims to equip students with the necessary skills to manage and disseminate information of differing natures (make sense out of chaos) and effectively synthesize information (problem solving). The course will cover the strategy of design story-telling through the use of different narration tools such as verbal and digital story-telling and the use of graphic tools.


      This module offers a level of cultural enrichment by providing technology scenarios, where those who are at the forefront of research technology serve as examples to help deepen students’ knowledge of themes inherent to design. Students will tackle the issue of identifying the correct production processes for a particular product under development, in order for design as efficient as possible. This module will also cover a new cultural approach to design through the application of Design Life Cycle principles.


      The aim of this course in to acquaint students with the physicality of design (expression, proportions, composition, details), through the correct use of skills to judge aspects such as ergonomics, usability and affordability of the product. Students will analyse the relationship between function, form and product architecture, enhancing the relationship between design language and design style and demonstrating the importance of both conveying a personal style and following the design style of a business / agency.
      The course also provides an advanced overview of stylistic expressions and their scope (supernormal, minimalism, emotional design etc.)


      This module aims to cover brand and product strategies, offering valuable assistance by helping design teams define the strategic considerations which help determine the correct competitive product positioning in relation to customer needs. Particular focus is given to the brand experience, considered as a valuable tool in creating a global definition for a product.


      Meetings with professionals from various design, artistic and industrial sectors will expand students’ skills and perspectives, and provide a forum for students to discuss their own designs and consider new stimuli from an innovative perspective, in collaboration with industry stakeholders.


      During the Master studies, guided visits will take place. These will include visits to key sites of Italian design, such as international exhibitions, agencies, production sites, museums and showrooms.

Remarkable is that teacher who accomplishes himself what he teaches to others.
(Italian proverb)

IED faculty are professionals that daily face the market. Here you can read their bios.

Federico Chicco Ferretti - Coordinator

Federico Chicco Ferretti - Coordinator
Federico is happiest where intuition, business and technology intersect. He believes that the best design is the one that dis solves into behaviors and that questions are often longerlasting than answers. During his tenure at Continuum, Chicco has played a key role in leading both tactical and strategic innovation programs helping to wrap business scenarios around people's desires and dreams. He had excelled in the creation of innovative and meaningful concept, products and services solutions for different international clients such as Allsteel, BIC, GM, Motorola, NEC, Orange, 3M, Pirelli, Philips, Sennheiser and Samsung. Prior to re-joining Continuum, Federico co-founded uno: uno designers studio, testing a simplified approach to the product design and exploring the boundaries between process and persuasion. Previously he was Associate Creative Director at Frog Design, leading the ID team and focusing at the convergence of design, and interaction. In the early stages of his career he was a toy designer at Mattel and Fischer-Price.

Jacopo Bargellini

Jacopo Bargellini
Architect specialising in Industrial Design (Politecnico di Milano, 1989), Masters in Design Management. From 1995 to 2001 he was Design coordinator of "Villa Tosca", the European Centre for Advanced Research and Design for the Japanese Matsushita group, where he worked on many international projects for Panasonic, JVC, Seiko Epson, Sharp. From 2001 to 2003 he held the position of Strategic Coordinator of the International Design, Communication and Interior Design Studio Matteo Thun working for major international clients. Since 2004 he has worked with the JFB Design Management studio to provide companies with strategic consulting services in the field of design. He has worked for Samsung, Swarovski, Versace, Guzzini, Tvs, JVC, Philips, Morellato, U-boat watches, Saint Gobain. He is a Journalist admitted to the Order of Milan and writes for numerous trade publications. He is an IED professor since 2006, coordinator of the IED Master in Design Management and a visiting professor at the University of Paris X Nanterre. He is author of the book "Building a design-oriented business: the 12 principles of design management" published by Franco Angeli, 2014.

Pietro Chiera

Pietro Chiera
Raised in Milan, Pietro has been living and studying in Sweden and Spain before coming back and graduate in Industrial design at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan. Before joining Continuum in 2011, he has been working for a Japanese design studio in Milan (Setsu & Shinobu Ito) working with renowned companies in the field of furniture, accessories and exhibit design, while working as a freelance with few decoration and tableware companies. He speaks fluently italian ,english ,swedish and spanish .He believes that whitin language and cultural intersections can be found interesting insights for developing powerful projects that enhances the experience of a larger number of people .

Chris Miller

Chris Miller
“I have worked in design for over 12 years. In that time I have worked in nearly all areas connected to the design environment. A strategic approach to design means that projects follow a holistic process from branding and brand strategy right through to product development and engineering. As markets become increasingly competitive, this approach is fundamental for the creation of a coordinated product portfolio with a recognisable identity, that in turn works to reinforce the client's brand equity. I have been able to apply this approach to a wide range of projects: industrial products (ABB), consumer products (Scotch-Brite), corporate branding (Capacent), furniture design (Neoset), retail design (Blue Lagoon), stand design Italia del Gusto).

Dagmara Siemieniec

Dagmara Siemieniec
She graduated at Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and holds a Master in Industrial Design at Politecnico di Milano. Before co-founding uno:uno designers studio she worked at Continuum, a design consultancy and at Design Group Italia. She was involved in several programs such as kids goods, stationery, consumer goods, electronics, office furniture. She work with: Moleskine, Artsana, Samsung, 3M, Allsteel.

Diletta Toniolo

Diletta Toniolo
Indipendent Design Professional. With a degree in Political Sciences at Universita’ degli Studi di Milano, specialized in English language at Columbia University of New York, she has always developed her passion for design, which today she’s teaching through history courses and research labs on contemporary trends. With an intense journalistic activity, she collaborates and has collaborated with Box International Trade, Domus, Bravacasa, Arketipo, il Mattino, Corriere della Sera, Sky Alice, 24 Ore Television, Radio 24 and cured various exhibitions and events.

Gabriel Weirich

Gabriel Weirich
Graduated in Fashion Design (HAW Hamburg), followed by a Master's degree at the Domus Academy. His studio is specialized in product design, trend research, innovation management and design strategy. Prices/Awards: DAAD, Marlborough Design Award, Red Dot Design Award “Best of the Best”.  Linkedin:

Valentina Giuffré

Valentina Giuffré
Business & Lifestyle Coach, communications consultant, Neuro Linguistic Programming expert, works with individuals and companies to  define what success means to them and how to get it.

Serena Bonomi

Serena Bonomi
Graduated in Product Design at IED in 2012, she then took her master in Design at IED the following year. During and after the master, she collected experiences across different industries, companies and design studios, ranging from trend forecasting to industrial design and strategic consultancy. While working for 3M European Design Lab, she won the second edition of the BMWCreativeLab, which led her to work as a design consultant for BMWDesignworks; Napapijri and VF Corporation.

Attila Veress

Attila Veress
Born in Transylvania, he grew up in the UAE and graduated in Industrial Design in Milan. His thesis was included in the ADI Index Targa Giovani. Winner of the BMW Creative Lab in 2013, he has also had the pleasure of working with companies such as Nestle,3M, BMW,TVS,Caimi Brevetti,Eataly and Fratelli Guzzini. Thanks to these experiences, he has been able to work in a wide variety of industries, with the aim of creating value synergies between brands and product experience.

Simone Bonanni

Simone Bonanni
Simone Bonanni graduated from Istituto Europeo di Design (Milan) in 2011 with the project Atmo, awarded with a Honourable Mention at the 23rd ADI Compasso D'oro Award (Targa Giovani). In the same year he began his professional career working at Valerio Sommella design studio in Milan. In 2012 he worked at BPM Studio (Milan) as product designer, developing items in different fields such as bathroom, light and furniture design. At the end of 2012, Simone left Milan and joined the Marcel Wanders team (Amsterdam, NL). Here he worked as product designer and project leader for 3 years, designing for clients such as Olivari, Bisazza, Magis, Moooi, Poliform, Alessi and many others. Back from The Netherlands, Simone settled down in Milan and opened his design studio. He is now working on several projects for selected brands and teaching at Istituto Europeo di Design and IED Master in Milan.

Riccardo Gatti

Riccardo Gatti
Riccardo Gatti graduated in Industrial design at the Politecnico di Milano. He collaborated with well-known design studios in Milano. Since 2004 he works as a freelance designer.

Antigone Acconci

Antigone Acconci
Graduated in Architecture at Florence University she obtained a Master degree from IED Milano, where now she’s working as final thesis project coordinator and teacher. She works as an architect and designs for several italian and international brands. In 2011 was nominated with Riccardo Bastiani as Young Design Talent by Elle Decor Italy. Linkedin: